Finding Your Author Voice and How It Helps Your Speaking Career

One author about how striking the right tone in her book led to successful speaking engagements.

Today’s Invisible Stories guest is author, podcaster, and speaker Nicolle Merrill. Nicolle has written for Four Seasons and National Geographic private jet tours, taught digital communication skills to global executives, and sold adventure travel programs in New Zealand. As the former Associate Director of the Career Development office at Yale School of Management, she coached hundreds of MBA students and professionals through all phases of their career transitions. Nicolle’s book, Punch Doubt in the Face: How to Upskill, Change Careers, and Beat the Robots, has been published by PYP. This book upgrades career advice for the future of work. In the book, Nicolle translates the headlines about robots taking all the jobs into a guide to help career changers navigate the new world of work. Nicolle’s human-centered approach to career changes, combined with a relentless curiosity about emerging career trends, has led to speaking engagements across the US, as well as in Canada and Ireland.

In this podcast, Nicolle and I delve into her life as a self-described job-hopper, and how she used her adaptability and Liberal Arts background to try out different career paths and guide others looking to do the same. Nicolle talks about

  • How she took her experiences in different jobs and combined them into her book, to offer others insight into what their career path may look like. She emphasizes that career changes are not linear, and that they take different shapes depending on who you are and your journey may not be like somebody else’s journey.
  • How her attention-grabbing book title came to be, and how it is a larger message of learning to push away doubts and insecurities and be confident in your skill sets. 
  • Her tone in her book, and how it really sets the stage for her speaking engagements and other branding elements. From the first few pages of her book, you know who she is and what she is about, and she is just like that in person. There is a congruence that just works. 
  • The way she overcame her procrastination tendencies and carved out time each day where she would write whatever came to mind, without stopping to self-edit.

Punch Doubt in the Face: How to Upskill, Change Careers, and Beat the Robots

The days of sticking with a single career path until our golden years of retirement are gone. In the last ten years, the world of work has changed significantly. But the career advice you’ve been given since you were a kid hasn’t.

Enter Nicolle Merrill, four-time (and counting) career-changer, professional reinventor, and author. In Punch Doubt in the Face: How to upskill, change careers, and beat the robots, Nicolle translates the future of work into a roadmap to a better career and professional empowerment.

Grounded in her belief that our careers are like a Choose Your Own Adventure book—full of possibilities, new paths, and the occasional surprise—Nicolle helps readers evaluate their careers like mini-futurists. You’ll discover a new career that fits your lifestyle, learn how to attain the skills needed to thrive in the workplace of the future, and go on a professional adventure or two—regardless of your age or your industry.

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Key Takeaways

Nicolle: [00:01:31] book. Oh, yeah. Okay. So I think the best way that I described my background is that for most of my career, I’ve been a professional job hopper. So someone who takes a lot of different jobs, um, tries things out is really curious about what different companies have to offer.

[00:01:48] And I’ve jumped around a lot. And, um, towards, uh, I’d say about five years ago, when was it? Five years ago? Um, I ended up in a job where I was a career coach and I was [00:02:00] coaching MBAs from all over the world. I’m not an MBA. I’m very much a liberal arts graduate who loves like language and culture, right.

[00:02:06] Things like that. I’m a writer, right? Like I’m, I’m very much this opposite of MBA. And, um, there, I was teaching MBAs, um, how to navigate us business culture and get a job in different countries. And I started, um, talking with employers who were talking about this big shift in the workforce, and I was looking at that and going, huh.

[00:02:25] Interesting. Um, Am I employable, you know, in the future going forward. And I started reading about artificial intelligence, um, and, and how it’s changing businesses. And I dove into it so much that I was like, wow, there’s a lot more here than just, um, you know, uh, an article, right? We need to talk about how this is going to affect people, you know, going forward in the next five years.

[00:02:47] And once I started researching it, I couldn’t. Stop. And it was like, well, I got to tell people, I’ve got to let them know, you know, because in my industry and career coaching, we weren’t talking about this. We were still talking to like this very traditional career, like one job for life. And [00:03:00] that’s just not the case anymore.

[00:03:01] Right. And I think most people, no matter your generation, I’ve realized we’re not in one career for life. And so that was really the motivation to write a book. Um, I know for years my mom was like, you should write a book. And I was like, I’d never, there’s no way that’s too much work. And then just kind of became kind of overwhelming, like a tipping point where I was like, Oh no, no, no, no, I gotta tell people this.

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